Finns trial a new safety net

Finland is trialing a Basic Income project that has the potential to create a more robust safety net for the multitude of Western middle and lower class employees that are being disrupted on almost every front – economic, political, technological and ideologically. Just as the swamp is about to be backfilled in Washington instead of draining the excess of neoliberals that caused most of the problems, the problem to widening inequality and job security may have a solution.

More from AP:

Olli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country’s social benefits, said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off Jan. 1.

Those chosen will receive 560 euros every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.The average private sector income in Finland is 3,500 euros per month, according to official data.

Kangas said the scheme’s idea is to abolish the “disincentive problem” among the unemployed.

The trial aims to discourage people’s fears “of losing out something”, he said, adding that the selected persons would continue to receive the 560 euros even after receiving a job.

A jobless person may currently refuse a low-income or short-term job in the fear of having his financial benefits reduced drastically under Finland’s generous but complex social security system.

“It’s highly interesting to see how it makes people behave,” Kangas said. “Will this lead them to boldly experiment with different kinds of jobs? Or, as some critics claim, make them lazier with the knowledge of getting a basic income without doing anything?”

The unemployment rate of Finland, a nation of 5.5 million, stood at 8.1 percent in November with some 213,000 people without a job — unchanged from the previous year.

Interestingly the trial is being done under the aegis of a “center-right/conservative” government whose main party is agragian conservative (think National Party) but not tied to failed economic ideologies (think LNP and ALP).

This innovation is neither new or untested, but the size of the trial is interesting with the potential for a wider implementation if successful.

Most Western nations either have chronic underemployment and/or significant youth unemployment that has not yet been solved by the usual panacea of lower interest rates and endless quantitative easing. The former drives capital price inflation into the hands of capital owners (i.e houses and shares) while the latter puts free money into the back pocket of financialists and other banksters leaving the middle class with next to nothing.

For example, US workers have seen zero inflation adjusted improvement in wages and wealth in the last thirty years while European youth unemployment is still at a decade high (and weighted more in southern European nation-states)

finn1 finn2

In the face of burgeoning deflationary forces, particularly in Western countries with low or zero population growth, the idea has more than merit – it has strong potential like that of universal healthcare in providing a more robust and dynamic workforce.

The difference in an Australian context is cultural as any form of safety net is gamed by those who don’t need it (read: Age Pension and superannuation) and more importantly, welfare is vilified as only used by the “leaners” and “skivers” to get out of work.

Of any Western nation that needs to prepare for a very disruptive 21st century, and that only has a Dutch Diseased economy to fall back on, let alone a few trillion in household debt and a Budget spiralling out of control, Australia should be at the forefront of such re-engineering of the social contract.

But instead, its likely that the neo-conservative/neo-liberal ideologues will spin any argument in changing the way we administer and prepare genuine safety nets over the long term. The usual argument about about lazy youths surfing at the beach or single mothers buying iPads will be trotted out as planes filled with 457 Visas land in Sydney and house price bubbles are pumped up to create equity ATMs to fill the middle class hole.


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  1. If this system were to be implemented in Australia the “randomly selected” individuals would include truly under privileged folk such as Gina Reinhard, James Packer and Kerry Stokes.

    • add to that aged pensioners who own their own home and have $1Million in the bank…. I heard they are getting a pretty raw deal at the moment

      • No such thing as a pensioner with a home having a million in the bank, or anywhere else. Nice try.

        We ought to get up a list of furphies like this. Along with Liberal economic competence.

      • innocent bystander

        show me where, anywhere, someone has a $1m in the bank and is getting a pension, or part thereof.

      • yeah I just realised that the government finally did something about it! bugger me, three days ago only hahaha! what a raw deal! my heart BLEEDS

        I guess $800K in the bank sitting in the living room of the harbour side mansion smoking a cigar the old fellas are doing OK 😉

      • innocent bystander

        I actually agree with yr sentiment bendy, but no use giving those opposing those sentiments any ammo.

        the hard bit will be getting PPOR include in assets test.

      • So, let me see if I have this straight bendy.

        PPOR included in assets test. Therefore:
        Higher house prices mean lower government outlays.
        Lower house prices mean higher pension costs and worse budget bottom line.

        Ok, so let’s give another level of government an incentive to keep house prices high. It’s worked well for the states which are hooked on stamp duty revenue. Zero incentive for the states to reduce house prices. So let’s have the Federal government also incentivised to keep house prices high. Brilliant.

        Simply. Fucking. Brilliant. For those with multiple IPs.

        I’m surprised the Real Estate Institute hasn’t been all over this.

        Disclaimer: My assets outside the ppor are so much, I’ll never get a pension, ever. So I should really support the idea of including the ppor. If you want the feds to have an incentive to keep house prices high, I should support it and smirk as prices go up.

      • No you are wrong.
        I have a sister with a home(given by her parents) worked every year till 60 except for one( when she had a child) 2degrees(1 pass art degree east sydney, 1 higher degree in ceramics at top world class level,) 1diploma, 1masters degree (part time) with her life savings 500K which returned her 14K last year interest. She is on a tiny bit of the pension to supplement this. she gets some postage stamps, health and 2 train trips which helps.
        Wake up bendy wire. Hit the Malcoms who have the fortune in the Caymans and the 7 houses and the other politicians with 20 negatively geared and take lobbying jobs after ‘serving’ (themselves) in govt and get huge pensions and perks thereafter.

  2. Strange Economics

    This would be the benevolent solution when robot shops and robot drivers take away many of the “service” economy jobs. However the ” neo-conservative/neo-liberal ideologues” policy sounds more saleable –
    It will be seen to be Better to have an elite 10 % with 5 million and the rest with nothing, than an elite with 4 million and the rest with a basic living. Even if the elite have to waste $200 k on each house for security guards and bullet proof cars like in the third world.
    Note that Scotland is trying this too.

  3. I remember a Freakonomics podcast taht talked about how such a thing was tested in Canada and was very successful. But various political maneuvers dampened its success and made it get forgotten.

    • I really wouldn’t call this Basic Income at all, its more money to randomly selected people on govt benefits, it doesn’t reduce the welfare bureaucracy and isn’t given unconditionally to everyone.

      • Thats my understanding, a response to disincentives due to the complexity of their social safety net and not a “Universal Income”. That some portray it as a stand alone fundamental UBI is misleading at best.

  4. Bloody communists…

    On a serious note, a universal income would give me the ability to try new industries and see what kind of jobs I like doing knowing I had some form of income to back me up in taking the risk. I actually see it as a really positive idea, much better than giving the money to the upper classes who know how to funnel it into hard assets further widening the gap.

    It would be funny if this income was given to those without property, and those who negatively gear received the lowest amounts (if not 0), I wonder how many would sell (or try to make it appear as if they have sold property) in order to game the system for a new income?

    The real problem is as mentioned, the poor here deserve to get a boot on their neck, the rich receive social welfare via tax breaks. It’s all about how you phrase it isn’t it?

    • but Catherine Livingstone is telling us all we need fiscal austerity to preserve her banks AAA guarantor !!!!!

      • If this were implemented, perhaps the entire country could jack in their jobs and live off their Basic Income?

        Sounds sensible to me

    • Yes Gavi. This is a very positive idea to help free up the wage slaves

      I support it one hundred percent.

      It is amazing to see so many comments on this page where people are shooting themselves in the foot and wanting to remain wage slaves.

    • Yes Gavin. This is a very positive idea to help free up the wage slaves
      I support it one hundred percent.
      It is amazing to see so many comments on this page where people are shooting themselves in the foot and wanting to remain wage slaves.

    • Yes Gavin. This is a very positive idea to help free up the wage slaves

      I support it one hundred percent.

      It is amazing to see so many comments on this page where people are shooting themselves in the foot and wanting to remain wage slaves.

    • Would it really though? If its ‘universal’, doesn’t it cancel itself out? Goods and services would rise if wages didn’t fall.

      • Fekname, in a previous life as an educator I would ask each new class of students to write about how they would earn or obtain an income if robots did everything. Many students had trouble grasping this topic.

        What if robots do half of everything (a very plausible possibility). How will people earn or obtain an income?

      • Oh that’s easy for my generation naturaltrust. Because we’re living it- look at the rise of labels like “Organic”. Human commerce isnt just based around needs, its also based around wants. What a lot of people want, is to have things other people want but cannot obtain. Turn on the TV and what do you see? Lots and lots of shows about food. Not about the act of eating, but the act of exploring rare recipes and ingredients. The very act of obtaining nutrition is becoming class based. (Poorer people will have trouble living on organic and other top label produce)

        To answer your question more directly, “I” would sell handmade anything, or guided tours of whatever, to whoever owns the robots. Because that person’s ego wont let them enjoy anything mass produced, unless it were mass produced in some way that doesnt also make it affordable. e.g. the uber rich who buy the rich versions of common mass produced stuff. Like a diamond studded Mercedes or something. I put quotes around “I” because I lack the creativity and social skills to be good at that. More likely I’d be (and am) a mere technician on the hardware that replaced normal labour. Theoretically I will be replaced with automation, but working with automation myself I find the idea a bit unlikely given a variety of factors I will skip over unless you’re interested.

        We don’t need to replace 50% of the workforce to undergo huge social changes though. Even a lower percentage of that becomes catastrophic for society if the ones excluded are also hungry or angry about the exclusion. Which is why I think its a bit dumb when certain parties or donors want to cut social safety nets. A man getting by on the dole can hope on a better future or at least feel like he has something to lose. A guy who has no prospects and no net may be more difficult to control.

  5. Pair it with a land tax and the thing pays for itself. With the added benefit of putting capital to work by taxing it away from land speculation which reflexively will increase workforce participation.

    • Nice call Joel – excellent plan. Failing to capture unearned land gains is part of the reason we are in this mess.

    • Land tax only causes more inequality, Joel.

      Land tax is a tax on the poor who have little or no income but do have a home or farm, for example.

      You are proposing to give with one hand and take with the other.

  6. I am glad you are finally against 457 visas, Mr Becker.

    Last year or 2015 you responded to my anti-immigration comment by posting a GIF of Clint Eastwood.

    Some jobs should be reserved for Aussies/Kiwis:

    Delivering goods via truck, van, ute, car.
    Ban foreigners from getting a truck driving licence.
    Only allow Aussies/Kiwis to drive government-funded trams, trains, and buses.

    Only allow Aussies/Kiwis to work in sub $100k jobs in the government-funded NBN.

    Only allow Aussie/Kiwi security guards to work in government funded unis, TAFEs, stadiums.

    At least Aussies can have a better chance of getting those jobs!

    • Interesting proposition.
      Without much of contemplation it seems to address false immigration well.

  7. As are the Scots.

    I think it is great to do these trials. I think we are already at a point where there aren’t enough real (as is, productive, contributing, rewarding) jobs for everyone. For now we can still act as if there are though. That luxury will disappear.

    I do still see lots of issues to be ironed out though, like moral hazards and/or price increases to offset the basic income, i.e. does free money actually hold value?

    We do have to find alternative systems though and considering the challenges involved it is best to start searching now. 🙂

    • Fantastic idea … but who exactly pays for this? The idea pre-supposes that there is always going to be a healthy pool of tax cows to fund this wheeze, but this is definitely not a given. If a high-earning Scot took umbrage at being taxed roughly 60% of his earnings in his native country he would likely look over the border at England (or any other country in the world, frankly) and decide that 40% was about as much as he were willing to pay. Tax arbitrage would simply draw out the most productive people in the Scottish economy and leave the dregs wondering who was going to pay their Basic Income. The smaller the productive base of people, the greater the burden that they would have to bear. Surely this is obvious?

      You can be morally superior and well-meaning about looking after the people who are doing-it-tough but this won’t suspend the laws of economics.

      • It is in no way obvious that the most highly taxed people are the most productive.

        Consider the actual impact on society of the top 1% disappearing tomorrow in a puff of smoke, compared to the bottom 80%.

      • Totally agree, i wanted to edit my post to add that as one of the issues that will have to be dealt with but my editing time had run out.

        I think some current day trials are focusing too much on UBI as a more efficient replacement for welfare. I see it more as an option for an alternative system in a (future) world where much of the production is automated/robotised. The questions to answer are, I think, of a more fundamental nature:

        – Who owns production capability?
        – Who distributes the wealth it generates?
        – How do you get people to invest time, effort and resources into setting up production? I.e. some work will always be required.
        – What drives innovation?
        – How will people provide meaning to their life?
        – etc.

        None of which I would know the answer to. I do think that we have to explore options though if we want to prevent a future where the majority of the people are redundant in more ways than ‘just’ the economic notion. The disruption caused by ongoing automisation/robotisation will disenfranchise many, to a point that society will collapse into chaos if no answer is provided.

        Note that I do not see UBI as an excuse to sit at home doing nothing. I expect most people will find ways to make themselves useful. When considering options such as these I always find introspection (what would I do?) a better guide than preconceptions of what others would do. None of us are unique.

      • @drsmithy
        I couldn’t agree more but you should know by now that the top 1% do not pay any tax … I was really referring to the top 20% (minus that top slither). There are reams of research that prove that there is a ‘natural limit’ to how much tax people are willing to pay. Once that limit is breached, people become motivated to avoid tax in some or other manner (to the extent of leaving the country altogether) and tax collections suddenly start dropping, rather than rising in line with increased tax rates. I won’t bother citing anything specific as the studies are numerous.

      • @AnonNL
        People are getting very uptight about automation and what the future holds for jobs but this exact same angst played out during the industrial revolution as mechanisation obliterated jobs in agriculture. What happened instead is that the economic landscape simply changed and jobs became plentiful in the building of the machines. The IR actually produced a quantum leap in wealth and jobs.

        Truth be told, full employment is absolutely attainable, providing you remove the myriad roadblocks to it: the price of labour is one such. State sanctioned incentives (not to get up in the morning and go to work) are another. And a mountain of employment legislation that dis-incentivises employers to take on workers on is yet another.

  8. armchair economist

    why bother with income at all….just do away with the monetary system altogether and let people just do what they like when they like as much as they like and for as long as they like….you would get rid of banks and the FIRE sector altogether….u can grow fruit and give it away…u can sell goods or provide a service but in return you get a card that says you have contributed then you can go to the supermarket and collect whatever….it would unshackle the economy!!!

  9. I predict inflation would quickly erase any benefits of receiving free money. There is no such thing as free money.

  10. Now if I could just get, say, 4 (unofficial) wives each having 4 children all on UBI…… Then send for a few relatives from overseas…..

  11. “The reason many people on the left are excited about proposals such as universal basic income is that they acknowledge economic inequality and its social consequences. However, a closer look at how UBI is expected to work reveals that it is intended to provide political cover for the elimination of social programs and the privatization of social services. The Liberal Party’s resolution is no exception. Calling for “Savings in health, justice, education and social welfare as well as the building of self-reliant, taxpaying citizen,” clearly means social cuts and privatization.

    UBI has been endorsed by neoliberal economists for a long time. One of its early champions was the patron saint of neoliberalism, Milton Friedman. In his book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman argues for a “negative income tax” as a means to deliver a basic income. After arguing that private charity is the best way to alleviate poverty, and praising the “private … organizations and institutions” that delivered charity for the poor in the capitalist heyday of the nineteenth century, Friedman blames social programs for the disappearance of private charities: “One of the major costs of the extension of governmental welfare activities has been the corresponding decline in private charitable activities.”

    To Friedman and his many powerful followers, the cause of poverty is not enough capitalism. Thus, their solution is to provide a “basic income” as a means to eliminate social programs and replace them with private organizations. Friedman specifically argues that “if enacted as a substitute for the present rag bag of measures directed at the same end, the total administrative burden would surely be reduced.”

    Friedman goes on to list some the “rag bag” of measures he would hope to eliminate: direct welfare payments and programs of all kinds, old age assistance, social security, aid to dependent children, public housing, veterans’ benefits, minimum-wage laws, and public health programs, hospitals and mental institutions.”

    disheveled….. file under the left hand claiming to not know what the right hand is doing…. so devo…

    PS…. top it off with Positive Money and welcome to a neoliberal paradise…

    • Skippy,

      “..PS…. top it off with Positive Money and welcome to a neoliberal paradise…..”


      You keep forgetting that we are ALREADY living in a neoliberal paradise and yep the public money creation model is almost completely privatised just the way Skippy likes it. Easy access to new public money for asset pumpers and insiders.

      Poor Skippy hates neoliberalism but when it comes to the banking and monetary system he likes a nice heaped serving. He thinks the citizens controlling their money is the road to serfdom. The US backwoods anti gummint vibe runs deep with Skip.

      But I am being a bit unfair as Skippy reckons that a working privatised monetary system, like communism, has never been tried. Skip just needs to explain the conditions where banker controlled privatised public money creation will work!

      As for UBI well guess what ? We agree! It is a bad idea. There is no shortage of ‘real’ things of value that can be done by ‘real’ people.

      The simplest way to get more income where it needs to be (in the wallets of workers rather than private banker chums) is

      1. Increase the taxfree threshold so low income earners pay no income tax

      2. Get rid of payroll tax on low income employees.

      3. Pay for it by removing Skippy’s private bankings sectors entitlement to create new public money for asset pumping and insiders.

      Public sector deficits due to lower tax receipts on low income earners will do a much better job of building deposits than private bank lending to speculators and carpet baggers.

      • Around and around you go and no one but Milton Friedman knows…..

        Your free market slip is showing again 007…. cough uber and airb&b thingy…. getting control of the sovereign money would just be the nail in the coffin…

        disheveled…. that you pass your self off as a doo doo gooder is just par for course….

      • Skip,

        Milton was a private banking sector man through and through. He would be having a jolly jape at Skippy batting for the private bank public money creation caper. That Jimmy Stewart movie keeps the folks onside!

        You dont seem to realise that every time you regulate (which you claim you support) private bank credit creation and reduce it – you are on the slippery slope to increased public sector public money creation. The end of that slippery slope is shock horror positive money, sovereign money etc.

        Any MMT person who knows what they are talking about understands that when the public sector exercises its fiat powers more fully the public money creation powers of private bankers must be restricted.

        Sure you can stop along the way but that would be just a bit of parsley in the windows to stop the old Apex club members from having palpitations. Public money creation managed by the public in the public interest.


        As for Uber I am pleased you eventually saw the light and realised that Uber was more likely to go broke than rule the galaxy. Strapping a billing system to google maps was always going to be vulnerable.

        Having you stick up for the junior league rent seekers – plate owners – month in month out was kinda sad.

        Spoke to a plate owner the other day. While he was still pissed that their lurk had been sprung he was very confident that the new apps the taxi industry are working on will run Uber out of town. Then what? Margin restoration for plate owners. Income for drivers goes down when all that Uber private equity dough dries up.

        Guess what ? I booked the ride in his cab via uber as a cab booking.

        “It’s just another platform”. so he said.

        Its a fast moving world Skip – old private banking tankies need to keep up!

      • 007….

        The world is not black and white… then there is that little problem with people that think that all mankind’s woes are the result of banks or money….

        Old banking…. huh… your camp can’t even bother to examine the shadow sector.

        The rest is just your tired intonations and projections, please quote in the future and with context.

        Disheveled…. there is nothing – Public – about non democratic administration of money creation, that your camp wraps its design in such terms is a disgrace, pack of libertarian neoliberals under new branding.

        PS. its all easy as pie up in ones head until its trotted out to be debugged by everyone else…. see most of your opinions….

      • BTW…. “you spoke to someone” – yeah here’s the thing 007…. I don’t confused anecdotal musings with facts or even a mild data point and if that is how you approach the topic of economics or anything else…. count me out…

        disheveled…. NC has been doing a cracking job of unpacking that libertopian dystopia and how it damages not only people but property rights too…. have you no shame at all – ?????

      • Skip,

        The onus is on you to argue, in the context of demonstrated failure, what modifications to the current privatised model of public money creation would work.

        But you never do beyond some hand waving and assurances that it is possible.

        You are just a banking sector apologist who runs a ‘anti neoliberal’ routine to deflect attention from modern banking. Not much different to Anatole Kaletsky.

        “Don’t blame the banks”

        The horror!

        Non-ADI financial organisations? Well they are a problem and very different to ADIs but then you don’t understand the difference do you

        As for taxis, well you may not like data points but then you agree with me finally so I will not quibble that you are still thrashing about.

      • I’ve used evidence based approach 007 before, then you resort to anecdotal rhetorical games i.e. you spoke to someone or recite some free market econnomizees e.g. creative destruction – equilibrium tropes et al…

        I think this sums it up nicely –

        It’s where the wet dream of Friedman and the Chicago boys rapidly collapses into a nightmare of lawlessness and criminality. With an open capital account, the elite, often criminal, elements of society yank money out of the country as fast as possible (to avoid the coming devaluation as well as to hide from future governments). This squeezes the balance of payments and drains reserves unless more devaluation is forthcoming.

        The focus is put on exporting everything and increasing production in a vain attempt to balance payments. But that kind of short termism has environmental consequences for future productivity. So planting fencerow to fencerow falls apart after a few years without ever increasing inputs. Those inputs, of course, need to be imported. You can see where this is going…more balance of payments pressures, ever decreasing reserves….more capital flight…more inflation. With spiraling food prices (prices can’t be controlled because MARKETS) since everything MUST be exported, domestic voters urges to eat be DAMNED.

        Your camps drama is that it cannot reconcile all the information, so attempts to control the one thing which – used – to have some monetary effect. Yet post GFC we can clearly see the – old – theory’s are not only inaccurate but highly destructive. Just to use an actual natural setting, once you diminish or destroy an environment it never comes back to its full potential – think WalMart.

        I would also note that frictionless Capitalism [Gates] where even absentee ownership is a dim memory… where an app allows VoM across the books just to burnish equity valuations and Pavlovian response from VC sorts… which then in turn is used to leverage political and social systems…. so to use any such model indicates that you are pro such contrivances and their effects on everyone else. Then you – claim – if given total control [secretive and anti democratic administration] over sovereign currency issue that everything will be swell. I sorry but if your core economic beliefs are Chicago school or an ad hoc blend of antiquarian deductive homily’s, which can be applied to rationalize everything to seem like you know what your talking about – T or F be damned…. I’m not buying…

        Good grief 007 your trotting out Martian Wolf of the neoliberal FT to support your statements, someone that has been wrong since the GFC.

        disheveled…. I can’t phantom how reverting to a quasi gold standard fixes anything when long run evaluations of assets is the linchpin to all of this, secondly it would seem to behoove to provide a discovery of why it happens [oops free markets] and then proceed….. sadly decades of free market homo economicus creative destruction has just about crippled any alternatives…

        PS…. but I’m sure the majority stake bond – asset holders would sleep well at night knowing PM sorts are looking after them….

      • 007….

        Lets see if I can summarize your argument…. banks have been bad social actors in the function of risk evaluation in creating money and in your opinion its an intrinsic quality [timeless], therefore the control over money creation must be removed and administered by your camps ideological preferences [about money and its function in society (free market before all things)].

        Now in this observation the ideological preferences which allowed said banks and lending institutions to leverage their wealth and influence in policy formation, and legal writ is completely edited out of the histrionics e.g. the agency which enable it all is conveniently omitted. In its place is a moral plea about antiquarian views wrt ownership and market dynamics [most have been resoundingly refuted save for the faithful] in a totally abstract metaphysical context.

        This is quite a dogs breakfast of semantics when one considers the entire context of the period in question e.g. moneyed interests setting the social and ideological agenda due to conflicts of self interest above all things. You can’t espouse FEE et al talking points on one hand and in the other talk about democracy [its completely anti democratic and on the record as such].

        In ending I find it hard to square your logic, because, you can’t crack a fat about banks and at the same time extol the law breaking anti social actions of mobs like Uber and AirBnB, in flat-out breaking longstanding laws as the core of their business models. The “sharing economy” fig leaf is nothing but a ruse, a camouflage for blatant lawbreaking e.g. the only way to gain market share is to undercut all the competition by ignoring laws – regulations and passing on all the negatives to the users. Not to mention that if and when they gain significant market share their only choice is to jack up prices to pay back their VC investors.

        Disheveled…. that the hard left and the far right seem to relish such theory’s as PM is not a reassuring thought imo….

      • Skippy,

        “…Lets see if I can summarize your argument…”

        That is one of the funniest things you have said for a long time.

        You dont need to summarise my arguments they are already dot point for even the gumless to chew on.

        If you stopped trying to squeeze them into your preferred conspiracy trope you would have less difficulty comprehending the point being made. But then you understand my point very well dont you.

        The current model of public money creation, that you fully endorse, is essentially privatised and run by the private banks. You can rant as much as you like but you never deny that point. For good reason too – it is a simple fact.

        The so called ‘control’ system for this privatisation PPP mess – RBA and APRA – have a record of failure. You dont deny that either. How about you explain how the RBA /APRA model is transparent, democratic and most importantly functional. You cant because it clearly is not. No reform for Skip though as the status quo is just fine.

        The RBA/APRA are secretive and independent of democratic control. You dont deny that either.

        Scrambling around calling me the defender of privatised rent seeker when you are one of the biggest FIRE apologists is hilarious.

        Our current banking / public money model is the earliest and most pernicious privatisation of a public asset – public money -yet that bit of ‘neoliberalism’ is all good according to Skip.

        You should read more Anatole Kaletsky, you would love it.

        Pages full of criticism of market fundamentalism but a free pass for modern banking.

      • Hard to respond to a non answer and plethora filled projections…..

        You never actually answer directly, its always skirting around what is put under your nose or suggestions about being a bankster friendly sort…

        I linked to jono below about your mate M. Friedman and co…. not that the majority of your comments are not straight out of the Chicago school hand book or that you have a drama reconciling its economic prose with actual historical events – short and long term.

        The craazymcpants part is your attribution to known neoliberal authors to justify your opinion and then crack a fat about having it pointed out… the rest is just reciting economic bibliography without any means to validate its accuracy…

        PM is purely a theoretical deduction based off of a bunch of assumptions and some esoteric beliefs borrowed from monotheistic systems, that its portrayed to be the final solution to stop rentiers or egregious accumulations of wealth is absurd in historical context. That its proponents are all free market aficionado’s is just more drunks looking for their car keys in the streetlight effect.

        Money is not a moral or ethical debate… its accounting… MMT provides the information for discerning possible policy formation that is available without the need to completely over haul the entire monetary and financial system [not going to happen just because of legacy concerns at this point in time and the ramifications of them (your ignorance of these is not a good defense imo)]. That MMT is used in the manner it has is purely ideologically driven for a spacific sociopolitical and economic preference by those groomed to fill the political and private institutions that make decisions e.g. did MMT tell the Chicago boys to forgo all the expert advise on non traditional derivatives, does it force Congress to impose budgets on advice from the CBO [more ideological pond stocking], did MMT force market participants to engage in control fraud or the increased privatization of everything not already privatized in the name of economic efficacy – NO – it did not.

        That grand award goes to the dominate economic pogrom of the last 50ish years and its complete and utter failure to reconcile basic human behavior let alone how it functions in the econnomic matrix – template crammed down on it. Something you extol with the caveat that the monetary system must also function as an appendage of this template in the first order of act and not as a democratic controlled feature [dysfunctional congress aside].

        diseveled…. just because others are not beguiled by your camps pet theory, no matter how many semantic convolutions are applied to make it seem palatable, when confronted by the all the evidence to the contrary and especially when MMT provides the capacity to remedy all the needs of its citizans, w/o being totalitarian about it and provide meaning in everyone lives…. its a bit rich for you to pull the old switch a roo and fling your camps past filth on others for pointing it out….

      • Skippy,

        Never answer directly?

        I am quite consistent in responding directly to your obsfucations designed to support ‘privatised’ public money creation.

        You are now just repeating your stock answer that the corruption of privatised public money creation should not be considered evidence of a flawed monetary model. Like Big Tobacco Skip wants more evidence before accepting the obvious that there is a link between the model and the dysfunction.

        According to you everything would be peachy keen if only nice people controlled our private banks and made loans to good people for good purposes.

        Nice theory but the problem is they dont and you have no idea how to make sure that they do now they are fully in control of……those accounting entries.

        “…Money is not a moral or ethical debate… its accounting….”

        Nope Skip not even close.

        Money / Public money creation is all about who has the power to make those accounting entries, when and for what purpose.

        But you know that and that is why you are so quick to shout ‘authoritarian’ when I suggest that there are few good arguments for continuing the privatisation of what a government can easily do when performing even the most basic functions of government, health and education.

        Apart from getting screechy and sounding like an escapee from an Ayn Rand workshop you havent given any decent reasons why govt creation of public money is such a threat to humanity.

        But the loony nature of your more outrageous claims is revealed by your simultaneous claim that my position is simultaneously both Stalinst AND MPS/neoliberal. Why not throw in Vegan as well.

        Public money creation could be done easily in the course of building schools, hospitals, roads, infrastructure but you think that is the first step on the road to serfdom. Can’t have the government creating public money interest free in the course of building a sewer system. Nope that quickly leads to Joe Stalin according to Skip.

        Instead you want to keep the power (over 90% currently) in the hands of private bankers giving access to ‘credit’ to their peeps to speculate on asset prices.

        For Skip that is freedom and liberty neat.

        If you simply started to acknowledge the incoherence in your position on neoliberalism AND private banker controlled public money creation you might make some progress. I suggest giving up your banker created public money is the sensible alternative.

        Crikey even most MMT supporters are keen to increase the amount of Public money creation by the public sector rather than creation by private bankers cranking out interest bearing debt contracts.

        Instead you reckon reducing private bank debt as public money creation is the road to serfdom.

        Hayek might sign you a copy via ouija board if you ask nicely.

      • 007….

        Again PM seeks to administrate monetary policy via a non democratic board accountable to no one but themselves and their beliefs, the original authors were monetarists and free market zealots. And no, none of those I’m affiliated with in the MMT camp agree with half of what you infer, just the opposite, the deep end of the money crank loon pond. Have you forgotten the critiques I’ve posted or linked.

        Never said anything about Stalin, just pointing out that your preferred economic policy is neoliberal, as well, as those you evoke to add authority to your claims. The only difference wrt the currant neoliberal policy is to change the monetary system to full reserve and then let the free markets sort all the rest out, yet at the end of the day the sovereign still spends ex nihilo first regardless, which at the end of the day leaves you right back at square one…. a political football to be kicked about for personal gain. You really should bone up on your history and social psychology 007, deductive philosophical musings are a poor substitute.

        disheveled…. by the way things [money] don’t have any agency…. humans do… so what dominate environmental social baseline has contributed to our currant problems and how will PM change that….. will PM stop neoliberalism… will it magically stop the decades of right wing death march to the cliffs…. no it won’t so whats the point… oh yeah it secures the value of the stolen loot….

      • Skippy,

        Yet again you have failed to establish that a government creating public money is in anyway a neoliberal conspiracy. Which is not surprising as it is as nutty as it sounds.

        All you have done, in your usual amateur hour fashion is make absurd claims along with a couple of links to half baked op-eds that you think agree with you but usually dont.

        With the cherry on top being your claim that any government organisation that provides technical and empirical advice to the government with regard to public money creation by the government rather than private banks is some sort of secret anti-democratic death squad.

        But when it comes to the ‘independent’ RBA /APRA Skip suddenly changes his tune. Their ‘ independence’ is tops and can be trusted according to Skip because it stops democratic government getting carried away with ‘money’ which – according to Skip – is only safe in private banker hands and ‘independent’ but thoroughly captured ‘regulators’

        At the same time you have failed to provide any coherent rationale for the current model of privatised public money creation which has a proven track record of failure and is nothing more than a relic of 19th century public policy attempts to manage the damage caused by widespread banking fraud.

        If you want a neoliberal conspiracy to go with your Tawny Port you should look closer to home to your precious modern monetary and banking system.

        But Skip the Bankers Buddy cant go there because what good would MMT be if the monetary system was actually reformed!!! All those hours reading up would be redundant.

        It is full to the gills with ripe and juicy low hanging neoliberal conspiracy fruit and by design not by accident yet Skip gives it a pass.

        Huffing and puffing and telling people to ‘read up’ when your ignorance and bias is on full display is cute but it is the hypocrisy that pongs up the room.

  12. UBI is just an empty pit which was tried in NZ thirty years ago but was an abject failure. The NZ experience demonstrated that while a UBI has some potential to add to demand in the economy, because there is no productive capacity attached, it won’t work under changing economic conditions. The better approach would be a jobs guarantee based on infrastructure improvements/maintenance and upskilling while increasing transfer payments for pensions and welfare to better represent living costs and not the current poverty levels. The Finns will find out quickly enough.

    • My take on the UBI, Malcolm is, briefly,

      UBI helps to free people from wage slavery and gives them more choice; especially to explore creating new business and improving their skills knowledge and experiences.

      Without UBI we will have an increasing concentration of economic power in the hands of capitalists as machinery and robotization reduce employment opportunities.

      • I lifted this from Mitchell’s work NT as it addresses what you are saying;
        “While many opponents of employment guarantees seem to believe they are just schemes to enslave workers in pointless work (the ‘boondoggling’ critique), the Job Guarantee should, in fact, be an essential part of a progressive liberal and radical agenda to transform the way we use the economy to advance a very broad and egalitarian conception of public purpose.
        Basic income proponents do not seem to be able to grasp why this is so.
        They cannot seem to get beyond a construction of the Job Guarantee as being a vehicle for defending the industrial capital status quo.
        The Job Guarantee can help society rebuild notions of collective will and reject the neo-liberal emphasis on individualism and see the economy as delivering benefits to the planet and the people who occupy it.
        That is quite a different conception that the basic income guarantee proposal.”

        The link is below and he has written quite extensively about it so worth spending a few minutes – this is part 5 – worth reading them all.

        Overall, I think the UBI under current political policy will be used and fiddled with until it is carved down to be a sub standard bit of loose money thrown at people in need similar to Newstart etc. We can’t trust politicians. Just look at the fiasco with superannuation which is nothing but a political football. Those people who have saved $800,000 between a couple are now worse off than those who saved nothing – the return on the $800k @ 3% and a lifetime capital draw down compared to the pension are about the same. Why would anyone bother to defer spending income now to save for the future if this is the outcome? We need to be better than this and I don’t see the UBI as anything more than shifting the deck chairs around.

      • Very curious about the non reply from NT and Malcolm on this evidence based approach to the outcomes of an UBI.

    • Re your reply below:

      Thanks for your great comment, Malcolm.

      I prefer to do it and try and make it work rather than miss the opportunity.

      Happy New Year to you.

      I look forward to your excellent contributions.

    • FYI, Malcolm:

      Skippy, re your comment above: “Very curious about the non reply from NT and Malcolm on this evidence based approach to the outcomes of an UBI.”

      I have now had time to go to and read the link you provided.

      It is my opinion that UBI can work if implemented appropriately.

      Your example and comments simply show how the capitalists defeated the proletariat.

      An income support scheme that does not allow for the substitution of wages with UBI will work. For arguments sake lets assume a basic wage minimum (something the Speenhamland system probably did not have) with protection against contracting around the wage laws.

      It is my philosophy to create winners rather than give up because others fail.

  13. if it were implemented in Oz, would an aged-pension recipient still receive their age pension in addition to this new universal allowance?

    Would the new allowance for someone of pensioner age be greater than, say, the allowance granted to some 20-something bludger? I reckon they are totally entitled to a little sweetener, above and beyond what the young bludgers are getting….. that way it’d be consistent with the current federal taxation system in Australia

  14. The use of the word neoliberal does more to reveal the writers ignorance and bias than actually convey useful information. It generally is used by a writer of the left to mean ‘policies which I do not think are adequately socialist’.

    Keynesian economics, central banking and fiat money are mutually exclusive to classical liberal economics.

    Multi-trillion dollar bailouts, “too big to fail”, fiscal stimulus, the Basel framework, the E.U project, are all mutually exclusive to classical liberal economics.

    Record government debt worldwide, Chinese private debt, hyper-inflation and shortages in Venezuela, property and asset bubbles fueled by artifically low interest rates and fractional reserve lending, are all mutually exclusive from classical liberal economics.

    • well if i can’t use neoliberalism, then you can’t use left or right…

      there’s just realists and extremists….

      “classic liberal economics” means laissez faire, or lazy fairies, as in, “just wave a magic wand and the free market will sort it out”

      its the same magic wand that says “poof, if only government controls the means of production, we can end greed!”

      • I think left and right are at least partially useful to add to a discussion, readers generally understand what is meant.

        I don’t think free market economics says all problems will be solved by waving a magic wand, thats your spin.

        Actually the entire literature, the school of free market economics, seems devoted to pointing out all the unseen yet substantial problems of waving the government wand and how government interventions in the market are completely detrimental and have unwanted consequences.

        But if you want to boil this down to a one liner saying the entire school of classical economics is founded on an invented belief of waving a magical wand where markets solve all problems in existence, then thats a bit crude.

      • @Jono – Readers know team red and team blue, but if you’re talking about policy or philosophy, then it becomes very hazy. “Left wing” people support protecting forests, and support protecting lumberjack’s jobs/keeping the sawmills running.

        Right-Wing people believe that Sunday is a holy day, and that we should abolish penalty rates on Sundays or at least bring them into line with Saturday.

        Right-wing people were against the Jews, then for Israel. Trump is again re-aligning things. Right-wingers were against the Ruskies (and China), but opened up trade with China. Now the right-wingers are wanting tariffs on China and saying there is no way Russia would interfere with an American election. Not long ago a ‘tea party’ movement swept through the Republicans. It started as “libertarianism” then morphed into small government, but now Repubs have a leader planning on taking out massive loans to do a New Deal part II.

        It is not very static. Just a comparison of Menzies to Abbott shows how far the ‘right’ can change.

      • You are right, Chris. For he reasons I wrote above “…the neo-conservative/neo-liberal ideologues will spin any argument in changing the way we administer and prepare genuine safety nets…”

        The “neo-conservative/neo-liberal ideologues” will spin, object and fight UBI because:

        UBI helps to free people from wage slavery and gives them more choice; especially to explore creating new business and improving their skills knowledge and experiences.

        Without UBI we will have an increasing concentration of economic power in the hands of capitalists as machinery and robotization reduce employment opportunities.

        UBI gives greater freedom to the masses.

      • NT….

        “UBI gives greater freedom to the masses.”

        Can you provide anything to substantiate such a statement, especially without the vacuous term freedom.

      • Chris….

        I think that after all is said…. that both the far left and far right gas themselves out wanking on about stuff… in the end they both are mentally drawn by the same utopian belief in a stateless society, only difference between the two is how to arrive there and some conflicts over esoteric matters. One wants the totalitarian Market to carry us there… whilst the other totalitarian State… either way – were – just grist to lube the mill till then or extinction….

        The bad part is how much destruction of capital and living stuff their prepared to squander… just to fulfill prophecy.

        disheveled…. not that any of them can remember whence the ball got rolling and distinguish stuff from the past and its transference to the here and now i.e. opines about divine rulers projected on the modern state thingy….. sorry but I’m attempting to catch a ray of light…. hanging at the beach does not cut it anymore…. the screams are everywhere now…

      • NT…

        Its not hard mate, you just have to show how you arrive at your conclusions and w/o the watery terms people like Hayek became obsessed about, paranoid delusional or payed mouth organ aside.

        disheveled…. I provided mine, can you reciprocate or would that lead to a conversation that would best be avoided for some…

    • Sorry Jono, but neoliberalism has been the dominate economic and sociopolitical agenda for 50ish years and its roots are founded in mobs like FEE et al, this means neoclassical and AET have been driving the affairs of the state to include dominance in international institutions such as the IMF and world bank.

      Banks, C-corp and public institutions have all been umbrella-ed under this group think, too now try and pin the blame on Keynesian [dead since the mid 70s], as well, as unleashing the self regulation rational actor tropes and that if everything is a market then the state is for sale too….. see endless privatization and increased dysfunction… is more than just a bit wonky…

      Then there is the issue with people understanding what corner stone neoliberalism is founded on – what humans are and do – as adjudicated by sage deductive reasoners and proclaimed [self awarded] rational agents. In times past this process would be called creating a religion out of whole cloth or ad hoc assemblage to suit a specific outcome.

      I’ve posted before but it seems you have not attempted to reconcile events and their driving agency….

      Disheveled…. I think it would be wise for some to actually take the time to inform themselves, before using terminology they don’t actually understand from a conceptual stand point or in application and fleshed out from actual historical events e.g. are you claiming Milton Friedman was a Keynesian of any sort when he played monetarist theory with everyone else as lab rats – ?????

      • Jono….

        This is well documented territory, hand waving and insinuations about conspiracy theories is not a refutation… its a accurate historical description of events.

        As far as conspiracy goes….. When Congress Busted Milton Friedman (and Libertarianism Was Created By Big Business Lobbyists)

        disheveled…. I don’t think you have a clue to what economic theory implies… if you mean made up shit to forward an ideological agenda I concur…

      • So Jono what started the endemic corruption – ????? – government or public institutions or was it the utilization of wealth and networking effects, seeking out the lowest common ethical denominator in an institution with social responsibilities, in order to write fictional propaganda to enrich vested interests and then have the audacity to call it economics….. eh….

        disheveled… Galbraith covers this ground quite well from an historical perspective too imo…. seems your more pro the former… keeping the egregiously wealthy rentiers comfy for a stripend and some health care…. cute…

      • Skippy, re your comment above: “Very curious about the non reply from NT and Malcolm on this evidence based approach to the outcomes of an UBI.”

        I have now had time to go to and read the link you provided.

        It is my opinion that UBI can work if implemented appropriately.

        Your example and comments simply show how the capitalists defeated the proletariat.

        An income support scheme that does not allow for the substitution of wages with UBI will work. For arguments sake lets assume a basic wage minimum (something the Speenhamland system probably did not have) with protection against contracting around the wage laws.

        It is my philosophy to create winners rather than give up because others fail.

      • NT….

        Thanks for your reply…. moving on… under the conditions the fins are operating under and your opinions I would say that calling it a UBI is a misnomer, as I stated above –

        “That’s my understanding, a response to disincentives due to the complexity of their social safety net and not a “Universal Income”. That some portray it as a stand alone fundamental UBI is misleading at best.”

        As such it seems disingenuous for proponents of a fundamental UBI and all that goes with it, to call it such, its a bridge too far methinks. Not unlike a leading question.

        I would also add that the historical case I stated is relevant to a fundamental UBI, contrary to the perspective about the fins specific example, it might be confused with a bunch of half truths and mixing projections with fact, as always the devil is in the details. Reminiscent of the debacle over Brexit where the lumpenproletariat and proletariat [to use your jargon] were feed inaccurate information to base their voting choices on over a very complex affair.

        I would also add that the JG camp has acknowledged the political reality that a UBI / JG as a compromise moving forward. Less we forget a UBI would remove a huge swath of the population from the means of production and all that portends…. eh… yet some anguish over income concerns…

        Disheveled…. are you aware of what has transpired wrt the fracking industry and the locals expectations of income say in America and resulting effects on asset price fluctuation, short and long term, they even made a HW movie about it. Just saying it might behoove to actually look for and at hard data and be careful of idealistic rationalizations from an armchair…. that got us Greenspan et al…. Cheers